This might be the first year since the Dolphins selected Jake Long at the #1 pick overall, where Miami is NOT in the market for left tackle. This position has gotten more and more important as the league has progressed, and still, more and more teams are looking for serviceable options to have a blindside protector for their most important position on offense.
While Miami is expected to let King Tunsil man this position for the next decade-plus, there are a handful of teams out there that can use a quality offensive tackle. Just off the top of my head, Denver, Houston, Carolina, Seattle, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Indy, San Diego, Pittsburgh and the other THREE teams in our division - ALL could be interested in acquiring the services of an all-pro offensive lineman. Not to mention that this draft class is said to be shy on NFL-ready offensive tackles, no wonder why Miami pulled back to explore their options.
Here are a few likely, and a few dream scenarios that Miami want to look at:
Most Likely Scenario-
Albert to Jacksonville for a mid round pick / Julius Thomas + conditional late round pick
The rumors are already swirling that Miami feels comfortable that they have already found a trade partner in their in-state friends just north on I-95. While the easiest trade would be to ship Albert to the Jaguars for likely a 4th/5th round draft pick, they may look to include player compensation as well. The guy who makes the most sense would be tight end Julius Thomas. I was intrigued of the possibility of Thomas this off-season because I fully expected Jacksonville to release him. I thought the reunion with Gase could be in the works and he would compliment Dion Sims well as a formidable 1,2 punch. Ultimately Miami would bring him in to do what they expected Jordan Cameron to do. Thomas is 28 and still has three years left on his contract. His 2017 cap hit of $8,300,000 is extremely high to justify his 4 TD season last year. However, if Miami wants to take the risk this year to reunite him with Gase, it might be worth exploring. Although his contract would surely need to be restructured, after this year his dead money drops down to a reasonable $3.6 mil if Miami decides to move on. It is because of Thomas' inflated contract that if Miami did make a trade for him, they would likely gain an additional draft pick in the process.
Albert and a 5th rounder to Minnesota for Xavier Rhodes
Teddy Bridgewater may not be the same quarterback after a gruesome leg injury before the year even started. When he does come back though, Minnesota will need to do everything in their power to keep him upright until he can get back to normal (or atleast try to). Rhodes is in the last year of his contract, and although he put it together last season, Minnesota might not want to look to pay him big money to bring him back. If so, they can always look to make a swap with Miami and get a quality LT and a 5th round pick in the process.
Albert and a 6th Rounder for Vontae Davis
Why Not? Vontae had an off year and is in the last year of his contract, set to have a cap hit of just over $10 million this season. While the Colts probably do have the space to re-sign him... would they even want to? If it wasn't for Andrew Luck playing solid ball, way more people would realize how poor of a job they have done in Indianapolis at the GM position over the past few years. They need tons of help, specifically at offensive line; their best chance to win involves helping Andrew Luck stay in the pocket and if they weren't keen to re-sign Davis then this gives them a proven left tackle instead of losing him for nothing. Let's be honest, Miami should have never traded Vontae in the first place so let him get back to south Florida and finish his career where he should have.
Albert and a 2018 3rd-rounder to Denver for Aqib Talib
Talib is one of the best corners in the game and is on a front-loaded contract that is mostly paid out already. Denver may have no interest in moving him whatsoever, however he has run into some off-field incidents and Denver has plenty of depth at cornerback. What they truly need is some help up front to help their second year QB stay up right. A solid LT may be the most important position Denver can acquire so there may be some level of interest. But would defensive-minded coach Joseph want to send his best cover corner to his old team?
Albert to Seattle for Earl Thomas III/ Bobby Wagner/ Richard Sherman
This is a dream scenario to reunite Maxwell with another member of the Legion of Boom. Sherman and Thomas have two years left on their contract while Wagner has three. Seattle desperately needs to get help on their offensive line, and re-establish an identity on offense. Albert can be brought in to protect Wilson and open up some holes for second year back C.J. Prosise. While all of these scenarios are probably unlikely and would likely require additional compensation from Miami, why not make the phone call? My gut would be to look at Earl Thomas who seemed to look like he was a bit lost early in the season before he ultimately ended up on IR. Perhaps Carroll wants to keep Chancellor and move on from ETIII? Putting him in Miami next to Reshad Jones would make the Dolphins secondary look like Seattle East, granted he can rebound to his pre-injury form.
Albert and a Fifth Rounder to Jacksonville for Myles Jack
It appeared that I wasn't the only one infatuated with Jack in last year's draft, as Miami apparently tried to trade up for him prior to Jacksonville making the move. While Jack has been hurt, Miami desperately needs a playmaker in their LB corps and I would atleast try to field an offer on him if they are already on the phone with the Jaguars. I'd consider it unlikely unless Miami ups their price however, and I don't see Jacksonville pulling the plug on Jack before he even steps on the field. I just had to include this possibility because this would be my dream scenario. Or how about...
Albert and #22 overall to Houston for JJ Watt
What!? Just hear me out. People in Houston are already exploring the possibility of a trade and the life without Watt. He went on IR early in 2016, and when he did Clowney emerged as their stud DE and Houston's defense really didn't take all that big of a hit. Their offense was another story. Houston may believe that their defense has proven to be formidable without Watt and that they want to focus on retooling Bill O-Brien's offense. Watt's injury may be a large concern for Houston as well. This trade would get the Texans off the books of Watt's contract (3 years left at roughly $15 million per year) so they can focus on the rest of their team. The extra money can be used to sign Romo, they would have an all-pro tackle to protect him and they have two picks in the twenties to get more weapons. Miami of course has to pay a first round price... but they end up with possibly the best overall player in the league. Watt, Wake and Suh on a line is insane for even Madden standards and Miami has the cap room to make it work. Fresh of a Super Bowl, would Brady even want to come back and play that group twice a year? I wouldn't question his tenacity, but I'm sure it would lose him sleep.
The Dolphins have until March 9 to make a trade official. What would you like to see happen?